What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Posts Tagged ‘wine tasting’

A Wine-and-Dine Valentine’s Day

Posted on: February 5th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Visit all four wineries on the Valentine's Wine Loop and you'll have a shot at winning an awesome wine lovers basket.

Visit all four wineries on the Valentine’s Wine Loop for a shot at winning a wine lovers basket.

Cupid is going wild in Oregon’s Washington County, shooting his arrows at every winery he sees. Whether you’re single or happily attached, there are lots of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with us, including events touting the traditional wines, chocolates, and romantic touches of St. Valentine.

Four-Course Tasting
The Valentine’s Wine Loop invites Pinot lovers to visit four wineries (February 14-15, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.). There’s one for each chamber of the heart:

Ardiri Winery and Vineyards blushes coyly with its limited production 2013 Rosé ($10)
Alloro Vineyard breaks out its limited edition wines to go with the local artisan cheese ($15)
Cooper Mountain Vineyards serves barrel-aged balsamic vinegar and ‘Vin Glace’ ($15)
Raptor Ridge Winery shows true-love to its vineyard with five single-vineyard Pinots ($15)

Everlasting Feast
With Italian roots and French oak barrels, Apolloni Vineyards is romantic to the core. So, it makes sense that it goes all out for Valentine’s weekend with three amorous events:

Valentine Tasting Room (February 8, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Start Valentine’s celebration right with good wine and handcrafted chocolates. We’re fans of the ghost pepper ganache paired with the 2012 Rosé.

Cave by Candlelight Valentine’s Dinner (February 14, 6 p.m., $60)
Stacks of oaky barrels, the intoxicating aroma of aging wine, good food, and soft candlelight casting dancing shadows. Now that’s a romantic Valentine’s night.

Sweet as a Cupcake Weekend (February 15-16, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
You love wine. You love cupcakes. Now, try wine infused cupcakes!

Love Potion #9 Digestif
Forget the roses and heart-shaped lockets. Craft the perfect Valentine’s Day memento at Montinore Estate’s popular event, Bottle Up Your Love (February 15, 12-4 p.m.). Make your own “love potion” from a custom-blended Pinot Noir.

Lovey-dovey not your thing? Hey, that’s cool. Next week, we’ll talk about an unfussy Valentine’s Day. From beer tours to mud runs, there are tons of ways to show your honey you care without feeling too Don Juan. Until then, see our comprehensive list of Valentine’s weekend happenings.

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Countdown to T-Day

Posted on: October 28th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Out-of-town guests can experience Oregon's Washington County by the glass during our annual Thanksgiving Wine Weekend.

Out-of-town guests can experience Oregon’s Washington County by the glass during our annual Thanksgiving Wine Weekend.

The Thanksgiving Countdown has begun. That’s right—only 30 more days until turkey, pumpkin pie, football, and all-encompassing gratitude. The countdown also brings us closer to travel plans and entertaining visiting loved ones. Let us help. Whether you’re a visitor or host, there is tons of post T-day fun to be had.

30th Annual Wine Country Thanksgiving Wine Weekend  
November 29 – December 1 | 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. | various locations | $5-$20 tasting fee

Start a new tradition, meandering from one winery to the next. Enjoy holiday treats from local wineries:  pre-release wines, vintage finds, and local nibbles.

Alpaca Open Barn & Holiday Sale
November 29-November 30 | 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. | EasyGo Farm

Cozy knitting days are ahead! Meet some furry friends and hit up The Barn Store for luxurious alpaca yarn.

Forest Grove Holiday Tree Lighting
November 29 | 6 p.m. | Forest Grove Chamber of Commerce

Holidays in the Grove begin with seasonal twinkle, caroling, cookies, and (of course) a visit from Santa.

Hillsboro Holly Days & Marketplace
November 30 | 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. | Hillsboro Civic Center Plaza

Usher in holiday cheer in historic downtown Hillsboro. Kids tell Santa what they want while you find what you want in the marketplace. Board the kitschy train with a canned donation to the Oregon Food Bank.

Oregon College of Art & Craft Student & Alumni Holiday Sale
November 29 – November 30 | 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Oregon College of Art & Craft

These artists push the boundaries of ceramics, painting, woodwork, and photography, for personal and meaningful holiday gifts.

Plaid Tidings
November 29- December 1 | 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. | Deb Fennell Auditorium  | $20-$35 per ticket

The holidays are a time to indulge in nostalgia.  This rousing revival of 1960s men’s quartet groups does just that. It’s like tuning into the “Ed Sullivan Show.”

Thanksgiving Weekend at SakéOne
November 29 – December 1 | 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. | SakéOne  | $10 per flight

Go offbeat with a specialty flight from SakéOne’s favorite Japanese Kuras, Yoshinogawa and Murai.

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A Vintner’s Life for Me on the NW Harvest Trail

Posted on: August 23rd, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
During the NW Harvest Trail, you'll see wineries in the throes of crush season.

During the NW Harvest Trail, you’ll see wineries in the throes of crush season.

As wine lovers, autumn can’t help but jockey for the position of our favorite season. It is harvest time after all and the thought of freshly de-stemmed grapes being crushed into juice—quite frankly—makes us nearly giddy. Here in Oregon’s Washington County, our winemakers get that and they want to share the harvest season fun with you during the North Willamette Wine Harvest Trail event.

There’s a reason the Today Show ranked the North Willamette Wine Harvest Trail as one of “5 fall festivals worth a trip.” On October 5, 2013, this annual event will once again welcome oenophiles to peer into a vintner’s life from the ground level. Thirsty wine enthusiasts board a chartered bus at 10 a.m., but don’t get too comfortable. The bus will take guests to three wineries at different phases in the vineyard-to-barrel process. You will walk the vineyard, watch demonstrations, work the crush pad, and get insight into the inner workings of a winery.

Of course, it’s not all work and no play. Overlooking the vineyards you’re learning so much about, the day won’t be complete without a wine country lunch. Each vineyard along the way will also feature tastings and nibbles because one of the best ways to learn about wine is to taste it close to the source. Your bus tour guide will answer any lingering questions about how we make such good Pinot.

After a full day of wine making and tasting, a Grand Tasting event is in order at the Tualatin Estate Vineyard. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., guests can meet the full gamut of winemakers in the areas with over 25 North Willamette wineries ready to share tastings and appetizers.   

With limited space, register for the Northwest Willamette Harvest Trail soon. Your registration of $95 includes the full day tour. Can’t join us for the full day? No problem. A limited number of Grand Tasting-only tickets are available for $45.  All tickets include tastings from wineries, food pairings, commemorative wine glass and specials on wine.

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Labor Day Getaway

Posted on: August 16th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Last sun-drenched summer vines before harvest
The last sun-drenched summer vines before harvest.

The Labor Day holiday is a point of pride around these parts. It dates back to 1887 when Oregon became the first state to make Labor Day an official holiday. Commemorating Labor Day in Oregon’s Washington County is an American and Oregon experience all-in-one.

Friday, August 30: Play ball!
As the Hillsboro Hops’ inaugural season comes to a close, cheer the team in their final home game. To get amped for the game, check out the Washington County Museum’s last few days of their fascinating Take Me Out to the Ball Game exhibit (exhibit closes September 1st).

Saturday August 31: Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour part 1
Embark on the 60-mile stretch of the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour. Brimming with wineries, farms, and picture perfect views, stop wherever the wind pulls you. We’ve laid out a few fun stops:

  • Nothing says vacation like a late brunch. Take your time at the South Store Café. Their house made granola and currant-speckled chicken salad offer bright, clean flavors in a homey environment.
  • Smith Berry Farm can help your garden transition with the seasons. Just peruse the hanging basket planters and specialty herbs. If you have room after brunch, then don’t miss out on a milkshakes made with fresh-picked fruit. You are on vacation after all…

Sunday September 1: Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour part 2
Helvetia Vineyards embraces Oregon’s history with its rustic property. The winery tour includes smoked salmon caught by members of Oregon’s Native American community.  

After the delicate salmon flavors, get a hearty dinner at Helvetia Tavern. Their menu says “jumbo burger.” They really do mean jumbo.

Monday September 2: Renaissance Revelry
The holiday weekend’s gone by fast. We can’t rewind, but we can go way, way, way back to Medieval times. It’s the Oregon Renaissance Festival last day so Middle Age buffoonery is sure to be in full effect. End the summer with a jousting match, mischievous witches, and a ginormous turkey leg.

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August in Wine Country

Posted on: August 7th, 2013 by Sylke Neal-Finnegan No Comments

Discover Wine CountryIt’s never too late to plan a wine country getaway in Oregon’s Washington County! From neighbors’ nights out to fun and unique events, these events allow visitors to enjoy the last days of summer and are sure to please the palate.

Neighbors Night at Cooper Mountain Vineyards; Fridays through August, 5-8 p.m.: Every Friday night throughout the summer celebrate the community at Cooper Mountain Vineyards‘ Neighbors Night. Relax on the lawn and listen to live music while taking in the scenic Willamette Valley. Pack a picnic and enjoy a stunning sunset. No admission fee; glasses of wine available for purchase as well as bottle sales to go.

Toast to the Tunes Concert Series; Thursdays in August, 6-9 p.m.: Bring a picnic dinner (no outside beverages permitted) and enjoy classic rock tunes on the spacious lawn of Oak Knoll Winery. This is a fun event for the whole family and leashed dogs also are welcome. Admission is $5 for guests 21+; guests under the age of 21 free. Gates open at 5 p.m.

Summer Sundays at the Ponzi Historic Estate; Sundays in August, 5-9 p.m.: Savor summer sunsets at the Ponzi Historic Estate, while sipping Ponzi wines by the glass or bottle and listening to live music or playing a game of bocce ball. Bring a blanket and a picnic (no outside alcohol or pets, please). Cost is $15 online; $20 at the door.

Date Night at Plum Hill Vineyards, 2nd Friday of each month, 5-8 p.m.: Enjoy date night with snacks, live music and complimentary wine tastings the second Friday of each month. Admission is free; optional catered dinner is $12.95 and reservations are required. For dinner reservations, please call 503-359-4706.

Ardiri Movie Night, 2nd Saturday of each month (through November), 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.: Relax with a glass of wine at Ardiri Winery and Vineyards and enjoy a movie al fresco on the inviting patio, complete with fire pits for those cool summer evenings.

Sakétini Saturday; 3rd Saturday of the month (summer months), 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Celebrate the myriad creative ways saké can be used in cocktail at SakéOne, the region’s only saké brewery. Sample from three delicious sakétini cocktails at the Tasting Bar, ranging from tropical to sophisticated, sweet to savory. Cost: $3 for 3 saketini cocktails, or add the saketinis onto a Sake Shock, Toji, or Kura flight for $2.

Summer Lunch Series at Raptor Ridge Winery, 3rd and 5th Saturday in August, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Raptor Ridge Winery‘s summer lunch series features delicious menus designed and prepared by regional chefs, paired with some of the winery’s best vintages. Cost is $45 per person (reservations required), and seating is limited to no more than 20 guests in order to preserve an intimate setting.

Patio Grill Night; 2nd Friday of the month (August and September), 6-8:30 p.m.: Enjoy a casual evening at Apolloni Vineyards with a gourmet four-course menu prepared by Sundial Specialty Baking, perfectly paired with Apolloni wines. Cost is $45, inclusive. For reservations, please call 503-359-3606.

For more August wine events read “August in Wine Country: Late-Summer Wine Events.”

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Celebrate Independence Day With Parades, Berries, Classic Cars and More

Posted on: July 3rd, 2013 by Sylke Neal-Finnegan No Comments


Smith Berry Barn

The Annual 4th of July Berry Fest at Smith Berry Barn is one of several events planned for Independence Day. (Photo: Rick Schafer)

Each year, folks gather to Oregon’s Washington County’s communities to celebrate the 4th of July. So, if you’re planning to be in the Greater Portland region this Independence Day, or you are interested in visiting Oregon’s Washington County for the holiday, here’s your guide to celebrating this festive holiday:

10 AM: The Hillsboro 4th of July Parade is among the largest (and is possibly one of the the oldest) in the state. The parade starts at 10am at corner of Second and Main Streets in the city of Hillsboro. Get there early to find a spot to sit back, relax and enjoy a bit of Main Street Americana. Location: Download PDF of the parade route map)

10 AM-10:30 PM: The city of North Plains is hosting a day-long 4th of July Celebration complete with a Cruisin’ car show, parade, children’s festival, contests–such as limbo, hula hoop, pie eating and golf cart races–dancing and fireworks. Free admission and parking; VIP parking is $5, and includes close-in spot and golf-cart shuttle. Location: Commercial and 311th Street (parking), North Plains

11 AM-4 PM: Smith Berry Barn’s 4th of July Berry Festival features berry picking, family activities, food and live entertainment. Snack on berry desserts, berry milkshakes and sample locally crafted wine and beer at this family-friendly event. Admission is free. Location:  Smith Berry Barn – 24500 SW Scholls Ferry Road, Hillsboro

11 AM – 8PM: Spend the day enjoying live music and watermelon with a variety of toppings paired with wines from Plum Hill Vineyards during this year’s Wine & Watermelon for the 4th of July. Location: Plum Hill Vineyards – 6505 SW Old Hwy 47, Gaston

1-4 PM: Delta blues and Columbia River sockeye salmon are the voice and the taste of this year’s celebration of the 4th of July at Helvetia Winery. Enjoy new wine releases, enjoy ribs, cornbread, coleslaw and potato salad, and some down-home blues. Dinner is $12 in advance, $15 upon arrival. Location: Helvetia Winery — 22485 NW Yungen Rd., Hillsboro

5-10:30 PM: The Sunset Park and Speedway in Banks is hosting a day of revelry. The Firecracker 100 Race returns, with a fireworks display immediately following race. Location: Sunset Speedway Park – 485 South Main Street, Banks

6 PM: Gates open at 6 p.m. for the Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration in Tigard. The event features kids’ activities, clowns, live music, concession stands selling light snacks;  fireworks start at dusk. Location:  Tigard High School – 9000 SW Durham Rd., Tigard

7 PM-10 PM: Celebrate the nation’s birthday at Forest Grove’s 4th of July Celebration with live music (7:00 p.m.) and fireworks show (9:30 p.m.) Admission is free; $5 donation suggested to help fund this year’s and future fireworks shows. Location:  Tom McCall School – 1341 Pacific Avenue, Forest Grove

7:05 PM: What’s more “American” than baseball (and apple pie)? Observe the 4th at a Hillsboro Hops minor-league baseball game. This special game features an Independence Day Celebration, presented by Les Schwab, and fireworks after the game. The Hops will be playing the Vancouver Canadians. Tickets are still available, and start at $11. Location: Gordon Faber Recreation Complex – 4460 NW 229th Ave., Hillsboro

Have a safe and fun 4th of July!

Weekend in the Countryside of Portland (part two)

Posted on: June 28th, 2013 by Sylke Neal-Finnegan No Comments
Berry picking is a popular activity in July.

Berry picking is a popular activity in July.

Continue your weekend in the country with an adventure along the Vineyard & Valley Scenic Tour Route for a day of experiences in Oregon’s Washington County’s agricultural areas. Start the day in Helvetia, a rural community that is north of the city of Hillsboro, and end the day in Sherwood, at the southern edge of the route.


Cut your own lavender, buy lavender-scented products or enjoy an outdoor tea and scone at the Helvetia Lavender Farm. With more than 1,000 lavender plants and beautiful gardens, you may never want to leave. (Jackson School Lavender is also on the route.)

While in the Helvetia, taste a flight of wine at Helvetia Vineyards, a perfect setting for tasting award-winning wines, touring a working vineyard and winery or relaxing for a picnic. Hungry? Stop at the venerable Helvetia Tavern, long regarded as one of the best burger places in the Greater Portland region.

Continue to travel through our rural communities, and take advantage of photo opportunities that await around every corner. In Forest Grove, don’t forget to stop by the L-Bar-T Bison Ranch for some bison jerky, or Montinore Estate to taste a flight of biodynamically and organically produced wines.

After winding through the small communities of Laurel and Laurelwood, explore the community of Scholls, south of Hillsboro. Venture a little way off the route to Mountainside Lavender Farm for more lavender picking and gifts. Additional opportunities for  berry picking are ripe on the southern part of the route. Visit Smith Berry Barn, Rowell BrothersHoffman Farms Store or Lolich’s Family Farm, which collectively have dozens of varieties of berries.

Wind up the weekend in the countryside of Portland–and the scenic tour route–with a visit to farms in Sherwood, such as Baggenstos Farm Store for produce and u-pick berries, and Gramma’s Farm Store for fresh produce and flowers, as well as u-cut.

*This itinerary can be amended to fit any getaway, including mid-week visits. Visit our website for individual farm’s hours of operation and to get more ideas and information about things to see and do in Oregon’s Washington County.


A Weekend in the Countryside of Portland (Part One)

Posted on: June 26th, 2013 by Sylke Neal-Finnegan No Comments
Make new alpaca friends such as these at EasyGo Farm. Photo by Heather Anderson.

Make new alpaca friends such as these at EasyGo Farm. Photo by Heather Anderson.

When it comes to tasting the bounty of Oregon’s Washington County, July is perhaps on the top of the list of the best time of year to visit. From berries to lavender, there is a cornucopia of things to pick and savor. Plan a weekend getaway* in the Tualatin Valley’s rich, agricultural lands and visit these family-owned farms.


  • After visiting the cute alpaca, venture to a country diner, such as South Store Cafe, located in a 100-year-old clapboard house and specializing in soups, salads and sandwiches, or Cruise In Country Diner, a retro burger joint that uses locally sourced ingredients and products for its vast menu.
  • Post-lunch, take advantage of blueberry and blackberry season and stop at Unger Farms, a u-pick berry and flower farm and farm store. Unger Farms also offers u-cut flowers, including dahlias, lilies, sunflowers, snapdragons and more (subject to what’s available and in season). Order a berry smoothie or lemonade at the on-site Berry Cafe.

After a full day of discoveries, overnight in one of Oregon’s Washington County’s fabulous lodging properties or sleep under the stars at one of these campsites and campgrounds.

Stay tuned for part two…

*This itinerary can be amended to fit any getaway, including mid-week visits. Visit our website for individual farm’s hours of operation and to get more ideas and information about things to see and do in Oregon’s Washington County.


Summer Wine Events

Posted on: June 11th, 2013 by Sylke Neal-Finnegan No Comments

Savor the warm temperatures and the cool sensation of  a chilled Rosé, Gewürztraminer, Riesling or Chardonnay, or sample the luscious flavor of a Pinot Noir, Tempranillo or other red during one of these upcoming summer wine events.

Drink Pink Rosé Festival @ Patton Valley Vineyards
Saturday, July 13, 12-4 p.m.
Join 24 of the Willamette Valley’s finest Rosé producers at this fun and lively event. Stroll through Patton Valley’s vineyards, enjoy Spanish-inspired food prepared by Crown Paella & Coquine, and sample wines from 24 wineries, all while tapping your toes to live music from two bands. Tickets are $48 per person and are available for purchase online.

Oregon's Washington County Wine CountryCanines Uncorked Wine Tour
July 20,  11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind wine event! Enjoy a day of complimentary wine tastings at 11 dog-friendly wineries in the north Willamette Valley. Bring your dog wine tasting and buy a passport, your “License to Taste,” which opens the door to great wines, food and special dog-related activities sprinkled among the wineries. Passports are $40 per person, and 100% of the proceeds benefit the animals at the Oregon Humane Society.  For more details, visit the North Willamette Vintners website.

Forest Grove Uncorked!
August 17, 4-9 p.m.
Celebrate the splendor of Oregon food and drink on Main Street at Forest Grove UnCorked! This annual event features the area’s abundance of fine wineries, microbrews, good food and local music. Choose from more than a dozen wineries and breweries, a multitude of area restaurants and local craft food. Stroll Main Street enjoying live music and all there is to taste. Admission is $10, nominal tasting fees may apply. Must be 21 years or older. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit fguncorked.com.

For more events, including single events at individual wineries, please visit our Events and Festivals Calendar, which is frequently updated.

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Want to submit a Washington County event to our calendar? Please drop us a line with your event details, images and other related content. (Read our Calendar of Events Inclusion Policy)

Celebrate Summer with New Tasting Rooms

Posted on: June 1st, 2013 by Sylke Neal-Finnegan No Comments

Oregon’s Washington County boasts more than 30 wineries, and the North Willamette Valley is the closest wine country to the city of Portland.  This summer, Washington County’s population will grow by three this summer, with the opening of these new tastings rooms.

Blakeslee Vineyard Estate  has been producing top-quality Pinot Noir grapes for more than 13 years at its vineyard located in the Chehalem Mountains American Viticultural Area (AVA). Blakeslee scored major points when, starting with the 2010 vintage, they enlisted veteran Napa Valley winemaker Robert Brittan (formerly of Stags’ Leap Winery) to craft their wines; varietals include Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir. In May, Blakeslee Vineyards celebrated another milestone: the completion of its new tasting room, which opened to the public in May. In the tasting room visitors can choose from three different flights (white wines only, reds only and whites and reds), and picnic tables will be set up during summer months and when weather permits. Private tastings and tours also are available. (Open Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Ponzi Vineyards

Ponzi Vineyards, Photo by Adam Bacher Photography, courtesy of Ponzi Vineyards

Also located in the Chehalem Mountains AVA, one of the pioneering families of Oregon wine is making history again with the opening of Ponzi Vineyards‘ new modern and comfy tasting room at the state-of-the-art winery facility in Sherwood. The new tasting room also ushers in a new wine country experience with sit-down, table service, complete with a server. Enjoy a flight of four wines ($20-$30); pair with charcuterie for a different experience ($30).  Tours of the gravity-flow winery with progressive tastings are also available ($30-$50). Guests are invited to bring blankets and picnics and enjoy a bottle of wine on the lawn, or lounge around the fire pit on the heated patio, which overlooks the valley below. This family-friendly winery also has bocce ball courts and will host events throughout the season. (Opening June 15, and open daily from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.)

Provincial Vineyards, which specializes in growing Pinot wine grapes, opened its tasting room to the public in May. (Previously, Provincial Vineyards introduced its wines to visitors on Saturdays at the Smith Berry Barn.)
Provincial’s mission is to produce a world-class set of Oregon vineyard-driven wine varietals from owner estate grapes and now visitors can taste Provincial Vineyards’ Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris at its new tasting room ($2 for a three-wine flight). The location underwent major renovations and includes a new deck and new furniture, perfect for relaxing with a glass of Pinot.  Also new is a “wine-on-tap” system for the Pinot Gris pours, as well the introduction of Provincial’s “Merci Amis” wine club. (Open Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. during the spring and summer)

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